LINCOLN, Nebraska (WCMH) — Ohio State survived its trip to Lincoln, beating Nebraska 26-17. Ohio State extends its win streak to seven games while the Cornhuskers have now lost to four top 10 teams by single digits.

The Buckeyes struggled to run the ball, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a record-breaking day in Garrett Wilson’s absence and the defense came up big on third down to propel OSU to the win.

Here’s more on those three takeaways from Ohio State’s victory:

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

No Garrett Wilson? No problem. Ohio State’s leading receiver was unavailable for Saturday’s game, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba stepped up in his place.

The sophomore from Rockwall, Texas, pulled in a school-record 15 catches for 240 yards — 14 yards shy of Terry Glenn’s single-game record. A big chunk of those yards came on a 75-yard touchdown where Smith-Njigba ran a crossing route, caught the ball near the middle of the field, and out ran the defense to the sideline before turning upfield for the house call.

“He was amazing. He’s always been amazing. This doesn’t surprise me,” Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud said. “Jaxon is the reason I’m here Ohio State. He was the main one who recruited me, so just to see him prevail and have a great game, I’m really happy for him.”

Smith-Njigba’s previous career-high totals were seven catches for 145 yards in week two against Oregon. He had seven catches for 140 yards in the first half.

3rd Down Defense

Nebraska went 1-for-12 on third down. Ohio State’s defense stepped up when it mattered most, especially when the Cornhuskers were driving in Buckeyes territory. The defense also recorded at least five sacks for a fourth-straight game, putting non-stop pressure on the always dangerous Adrian Martinez.

Early in the first quarter, Ohio State stopped Nebraska on 3rd and 2 at the OSU-25 yard line, forcing them to take a field goal, which went wide left.

The Buckeyes stopped Nebraska again with four minutes left in the first half on 3rd and 7 from the OSU 22-yard line, allowing one yard on a quarterback keeper. Nebraska made the field goal that time but not the third time.

On a crucial 3rd and 4 from the Buckeyes 13-yard line, Ohio State got pressure on Adrian Martinez forcing an incomplete pass and another field goal attempt, which Nebraska missed again with less than 10 minutes left in the game.

Finally, following an Ohio State punt with less than six minutes left in a six-point game, OSU’s defense forced Nebraska to go three and out, allowing the offense to add a field goal and seal the win.

OSU struggled to run

Ohio State was never able to get its run game going but it never really seemed interested in doing so. The Buckeyes had 30 carries compared to 54 passes, just the second time this season they’ve thrown more than 50 times. The other game was against Oregon and OSU was not efficient there, either. Asking Stroud to throw that many times is just asking for trouble and that’s what happened twice with two interceptions and a near disaster toward the end of the game.

The Buckeyes were up 23-17 with 1:45 left at the Nebraska 34-yard line with plenty of momentum. During that drive, they had finally broken two runs for more than 10 yards, something the Buckeyes hadn’t done all game. But instead of running and forcing Nebraska to take timeouts, Ryan Day decided to pass again and it nearly cost OSU the game.

Stroud tried to avoid the rush, which the Buckeyes didn’t block well, and failed to do so, fumbling the ball after being hit by Garrett Nelson. The ball jettisoned away from the scrum but was luckily recovered by center Luke Wypler. Ohio State was able to complete two passes and set up a 46-yard field goal, which Noah Ruggles made for his fourth field goal of the game, sealing the 26-17 win.

Bonus: Noah Ruggles is money

Noah Ruggles went four-for-four against Penn State last week. Twelve points in a nine-point game. He made four field goals again versus Nebraska and is now 15-for-15 this season. It’s impossible to overstate his value, especially when Nebraska’s kicker missed two makeable kicks that would’ve made this game a much different story.

Ruggles got 10 Buckeye leaves last week and he should get the same amount, if not more, for his heroic efforts.